This afternoon, a thrillingly beautiful early fall day, I was sitting on my screened porch squirreling away on my book proposal (now submitted, cross fingers) when the very fabric of space-time was rent in twain in a single moment of shocking violence.
Well, perhaps that's putting it a bit strong. What happened was that the serene silence of the sylvan, rural afternoon was smashed by several enormous cracking noises. My first, panicked thought was that some firecrackers we have in the garage, left over from a rainy July Fourth, had somehow caught fire and were exploding. Of course, if they'd caught fire, then that must mean the garage is on fire and -- omigodtheTriumph!
I raced uphill around the house, to find the garage quite thoroughly unengulfed in flames. The afternoon peace up here seemed quite unrent. Then I looked into the orchard and saw rather more vegetation than I am used to seeing there:
A tree, a damned good-sized one, had seen fit to end its existence on this beautiful Saturday. It was a breezy day, but hardly the kind of tempest that knocks trees over. No, I think the poor thing was depressed and simply decided to end it all.
Miraculously, it managed to miss just about everything it could have killed. The blueberries are (thank Osiris!) unharmed, it missed two apple trees and an Asian pear, the compost heap, and missed the garage by a country mile. A damned polite suicide.
But here's the truly astonishing part:
(I'm having iPhoto trouble with this new laptop, forgive the rotten photo quality.) What you see here in the lower left is a stone wall, which a reasonably expert person told me dates back to the 1940s or so. I am really quite fond of this wall. Damage to it would distress me greatly. This polite tree had the good taste and discretion to break off exactly six inches above the top of the wall, and in its fall did absolutely no damage to the wall whatsoever!
Believe it...or not!
Now, I told Wonder Woman that we'd have to get professional help to clear this tree, it was plainly too big a project for a single homeowner to handle, and her sarcasm on the matter of my purchase of a rather pricey new chainsaw this spring was what you might call withering. But that trunk is two feet in diameter if it's an inch, and we'll need a wood-chipper and a crane and all kinds of gear that I don't have.
But I am going to enjoy splitting all that wood.